Luis Estrada directs this groundbreaking and extremely controversial satire about Mexico's long-ruling political party, the PRI. Set in the late 1940s in the remote, thoroughly backwards village of San Pedro de los Saguaros, the film focuses on Vargas (Damian Alcazar), a petty politician who had the dubious honor of being appointed town mayor after his predecessor was decapitated for corruption by an angry mob. At first, he tries to balance the books and to bring the 20th century to the backwaters. When he is visited by slick PRI politico Lopez (Pedro Armendariz), however, he learns the officially sanctioned way of running the town: at gunpoint while pilfering the bank vaults. Soon Vargas becomes a power-mad despot, more than willing to steal or kill to further his goals. Though his PRI bosses try to reign him in, the lynch mob soon appears to be the inevitable end of Vargas' political career. The first film to criticize the PRI by name, Estrada's bitter farce savages the ruling party, the church and U.S. intervention. Cult director Alex Cox plays a small role as a seedy gringo.
by Jonathan Crow synopsis